This inspection of the management of girls in custody at Banksia Hill Detention Centre took place just over three months after a major riot took place at the Centre, forcing the transfer of the majority of male detainees to other facilities. While the Inspector considered delaying the review of girls in custody, it was ultimately considered too important and too long in coming to postpone.
As a comparatively small proportion of the overall youth in custody, girls have historically been marginalised. This has been the case since before The Department of Corrective services assumed responsibility for managing young people in custody in 1993 from the then Department for Community Development, as they have substantially had to make do with small facilities captured within male detention centres. This was initially the case at the facilities provided at Nyandi and Longmore Centres, then Banksia Hill and then finally Rangeview before their most recent transfer to a new purpose built precinct, Yeeda, at Banksia Hill.
The 2009 announcement that all Banksia Hill would be redeveloped into the single accommodation option for all juvenile offenders provided an opportunity for the unique needs of girls in custody to be considered and accommodated. This inspection sought to examine the extent to which this opportunity had been realised.
The demographic profile of the young women and girls held in the Yeeda precinct is dynamic. At the time of the inspection, Yeeda held only nine girls aging from 12 through to 18 years of age. Five were Aboriginal and four were non-aboriginal Australians. Of the nine girls only one was sentenced, with the remaining eight being on remand. Regionally, five came from the metropolitan area, one from the far north, one from the mid-west, one from the south-west and one from the Goldfields. Therefore, this very small group of girls represented an extremely diverse population of varied needs, developmental age, and cultural backgrounds.